Planning for the future can be exciting and full of possibilities – like when you’re mapping out your college courses to ensure career success. It is a gigantic puzzle, making sure you have enough credits, that you’ve completed the required courses, and choosing your electives. It requires forethought and diligence to make sure you adhere to the plan, sometimes classes aren’t offered or, if they are, they conflict with other classes and you’re forced to take a different route to your goal. There are a lot of moving parts to consider and if you aren’t careful, you can end up somewhere very different than you intended.
Advance Care Planning is similar in many ways, not in the least because it requires you to anticipate possible events and what the future you will want or need. Admittedly, it is not quite as exciting as planning for your career, but it is no less important. It can be scary to contemplate. After all, who wants to think about themselves with a serious illness or in the aftermath of a catastrophic injury? But if you don’t, your quality of life, and that of your loved ones, could decrease dramatically.
So, what is Advance Care Planning?
First off, it is not only about death and dying. While they play a significant part, it is more accurate to think of it as instructions for your family and friends should you not be able to communicate yourself. This could be as simple as indicating drug allergies while you are unconscious or as difficult as refusing to allow a feeding tube.
Second, it is not only about medical treatment. On some forms, you can let folks know your religious preferences, about any tasks or pets that need taking care of, and what kind of music you like. You get to define how you want to be taken care of emotionally as well as medically.
Finally, it is not just about you. When an Advance Care Plan is needed, it is unlikely that you will be able to communicate with your loved ones. Having a documented plan will make it easier on those who are making decisions for you and possibly relieve them of any guilt they may experience.
You don’t have to wait until you experience a life-limiting illness or accident, in fact, it is better to have a plan prepared long before it is needed. There are many options available to help with Advance Care Planning and most of them are affordable. CIVHC has several resources to guide you through the planning process and ensure that the proper documents are given to the proper individuals.
Have questions? Want to get started? Come to CIVHC Connect: Caring and Preparing for Serious Illness on Friday, February 22nd and learn more about Advance Care Planning.